World Economy

Opposition Label TPP as ‘Political’

Opposition Label TPP as ‘Political’Opposition Label TPP as ‘Political’

After more than six years of negotiations, trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim countries have come to an agreement over the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

The deal, representing 40% of the global economy, will slash trade barriers and ensure a common set of standards are met among member countries Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the US, Sputnik reported.

Government and big business officials have praised the deal, however there has also been widespread opposition to the TPP, with trade unions and human rights activists concerned over the impacts it will have on local businesses and workers’ rights.

While global leaders have preached about the trade and investment opportunities that come with the TPP, there is also a very strong political element underpinning it.

The TPP has been central to US President Barack Obama’s plans to counter China’s economic power in Asia and assert the US’ own influence in the region.

China isn’t included in the deal, while it’s interesting to note that none of the other BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa—are included in discussions for any of the major US-led trade deals currently being negotiated.

  Open Agreement

The trade ministers of 12 countries have agreed upon the deal, however there is room for more to join in the future—possibly even China.

While the TPP was initially thought to be an American weapon to contain China in its own backyard, it is thought that many within the US business community would support Beijing’s inclusion in the deal in the future, as it would grant multinationals access to China’s huge market.

Along with China, there are a number of other interested parties watching on, with South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and even Columbia thought to be among those keen on jumping into the deal in the future.

  A Puzzle

Despite covering 40% of the global economy, the TPP is merely one piece of the puzzle for US officials, who are negotiating a number of trade deals around the world.

On top of the TPP, the US is involved in discussions over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership between Washington and EU member states, and the Trade in Services Agreement, also being negotiated between the US, EU and Pacific Rim countries.

Critics fear that if the TPP, TTIP and TISA are successfully negotiated, the agreements will link up and effectively wash away workers’ rights and undermine government sovereignty across the majority of the world economy.

  More Harm Than Good

Despite the assertions of government officials that the TPP will bring more harm than good, there has been huge public opposition towards the deal, which critics argue will hand multinational corporations unprecedented power over governments and leave workers powerless.

Just like the public protests against TTIP in Europe, there have been countless demonstrations and online petitions in TPP member countries like the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, calling for the deal to be scrapped.

Central to the criticism was the secrecy and lack of transparency during negotiations, leaving many citizens concerned as to what impacts the deal would actually have for them, while there are huge fears that labor and environmental standards will be reduced in many countries.

The opposition hasn’t just been restricted to grassroots activists either, with Canada’s New Democratic Party saying they would back out of any TPP deal signed by the Canadian government, if they get into power later this year.

  Disastrous for American Jobs

Obama faces a growing political opposition including those from his party colleagues, trade and labor unions and businesses on what he described as a “historic” 12-nation TPP deal.

“What I have seen so far, the TPP agreement will benefit Wall Street banks and multinational corporations on the backs of hard-working Americans, and it will increase existing threats to our environment,” Obama’s colleague Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said in a statement expressing her opposition.

“This deal, which will affect 40% of our global economy, will be even more unenforceable and more disastrous for American jobs and our economy than NAFTA has already proven to be,” she said. “We are disappointed that our negotiators rushed to conclude the TPP in Atlanta, given all the concerns that have been raised by American stakeholders and members of Congress,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.